All across the world, comic book stores and comic book fans gathered on Saturday for the annual Free Comic Book Day celebration. The comic book store on Nob Hill, Astro-Zombies, participated too.

“It's kind of a way to spark an interest with readers that aren't necessarily comic fans as well as for shops to give back to people that allow them to have the coolest job in the world,” said Mike D'Elia, the owner of Astro-Zombies. “This is what I get to do for a living, so the least we can do is put on a crazy event like this every year and do something that brings the whole comic book community together.”

Ashley Hartshorn, came to the celebration even though she does not know a lot about comic books, because she thought the event looked interesting, she said.



“There are a lot of people that really like comic books,” Hartshorn said. “They've got some really big boxes outside and they're doing some serious searching, which is great.”

Astro-Zombies, in addition to giving away free comics on Free Comic Book Day, also held a sidewalk sale, according to D’Elia. This year, customers had the option of purchasing a box for $25 and filling it up with as many comic books that can fit.

“We'll go through and make room in some of those warehouses and clean out stuff that's not necessarily junk, but stuff that we have so much of,” D’Elia said. “We put all of that stuff here and as you can see, people go crazy for it.”

Daniel Hernandez, who comes to celebrate Free Comic Book Day every year, said that Astro-Zombies has a good collection of graphic novels and action figures.

“I love the store,” Hernandez said. “The people here that run the store are probably some of the coolest people I've met. When I've gone to certain other spots--I won't mention names--but they really try to talk down to you like you don't know about comic books.”

Hernandez said he has been collection comic books since he was a child, and Astro-Zombies is not the only comic book store he likes to go to on Free Comic Book Day.

“Lobo Comics is another one of my favorite stores to go to,” he said. “They have a really good selection. I love anime as well, so they have a really big selection of that and the people there are cool as hell.”

At Astro-Zombies this year, Free Comic Book Day also included a costume competition and a raffle later in the day. He said that everyone was welcome, especially children.

“Maybe a kid wants to check out comics or thinks they're cool, but a parent doesn't want to spend $3.99 on a comic their kid’s just going to crumple up and throw in their drawer,” D’Elia said. “But they can get a few comics, check them out and maybe, just maybe it'll get kids into comics and at the same time, maybe it'll spark kids to read.”

“When (Free Comic Book Day) does come around, take your kids, bring your cousins and friends and get some free comic books and support the local stores because if you don't, spots like this eventually are going to close out and we're all going to lose out on it,” Hernandez said.

Free Comic Book Day happens every year on the first Saturday of May.

“Anybody who says no is not saying the truth because it's free comic books,” Hernandez added. “How can you not say yes to free comic books?”

Ariel Lutnesky is a culture reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter 
@ArielLutnesky.